Friday, March 27, 2015

Yes, I should have done more

I realize I am not solely responsible... but I have to share some of the responsibility. A boy who grew up next door to us when we lived in the country parsonage was shot to death Wednesday. He was 21 years old, but I remember when he was much younger he spent countless hours shooting baskets outside at the church or at his house; he would come to my office and ask me questions, ask if he could play ping pong, and on too many nights when I knew he was home while his grand-daddy was at work, I should have invited him to our house. I could have and should have done more... and I didn't. Dammit!!!!

Anyway, here is the news story from Wednesday, and here is the one from Thursday (where they identified him). Here is another story from a different channel on Thursday. I feel so bad for his grandpa - a really good, kind, sweet guy. Jay was a good kid too. Dang. This just makes me sick. It makes me angry. I hate guns!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Painted bedroom

Jane painted our bedroom while I was out of town earlier this week. It had been green since we moved in. She painted it a light gray with white trim, and bought a new navy bedspread and pillows. She kind of patterned the room after a couple pictures we painted that have been hanging at the head of our bed. It looks really nice.

She also bought some kind of stuff you pour into the paint that makes it smell good. The odor is supposed to gradually fade, but it is making the entire house smell good for now.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Missing the point

I have to admit, it felt pretty good to be in Findlay again hanging with some church leadership folks. I've not had much contact with any people in our denomination for awhile, and it was good to take a class too. There were some discussions that were quite refreshing, but there were also a couple that really made me glad to no longer be 'in that loop.'

One gentleman in particular, whom I had met before but he apparently didn't remember, really amused me. He introduced himself to me early on; he is an energetic sort; he "pastors" a church in whatever region that is. I don't remember what we were even discussing, but I made some comment about Sunday kind of being the "easy" day for our faith - meaning the things we do at our worship gatherings don't generally require so much effort as it usually takes trying to live out our faith the rest of the week. He looked at me like I was an alien and I actually think he believed I was being sarcastic, because he immediately starts telling me about how terrible this past Sunday had been for him. The organist was gone, the pianist couldn't be there, they had to HIRE a musician; then the sound board operator didn't show up... and it totally threw everything into a terrible wad of chaos for him as the pastor. He topped it off by saying, "And there were probably only a handful of people there who had any idea just how difficult it was for me!"

I didn't know how to respond to that. He was being dead serious. I was seriously mystified. I wanted to ask him how he thought that rated among the 'difficulties' some of his people were currently facing in life, but I didn't think it would matter. So I just walked away. Are our Sunday gatherings really THAT important???

Yes... I know... I used to take them very seriously too (Sunday's; worship services). And it's not that they don't matter at all. I don't know... Maybe I missed his point. He missed mine. We were looking at things from completely different perspectives the rest of the two days. I feel kind of bad that I sort of 'dismissed him' from that point on. I don't think he noticed, or cared. He still seemed very excited about his life. I went on with mine.

Anyway, today it's back to my regular job. I haven't even thought about it for the past several days. Whatever.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Two days of continuing coach training

I just returned from a 2-day class offered by Coach Approach Ministries in Findlay, Ohio. Bill Copper taught CAM 510 'A Coach Approach to Leading and Managing.' It was highly invigorating for me. Plus it met my annual requirement to keep my Certificate in Christian Leadership Coaching active and current. So now I have had CAM 501, 502, and 510, in addition to 10 hours of mentor coaching. The more I do this, the more I like this coaching thing.

We met at the Center for Christian Ministries at the CGGC headquarters in Findlay. I think there were 16 of us in the class. I knew or had heard of most of the people there. I also met Arden (or Arlen) and Adam, plus this was the first time I had met Bill (even though I had coached with him on the phone). Tom and Steve and I sat at a table with Keith R. Tom, Steve and I stayed at the Country Inn and Suites hotel, and it was really quite nice. I would recommend it if you're ever in Findlay.

We met Monday from 8:30 am - 4:30 pm, and Tuesday from 8 am to 3:30 pm. Tom and I worked on our coaching website Monday night, and I gave him a ride home Tuesday and we were able to hammer through a lot of needed discussion regarding this joint business together. It was an all-around good time for me. I have to admit, I didn't think about "work" one single time. I also think I gained more confidence, and more of a desire for the coaching not only through the class, but also the other discussions I had with people. A really good time.

Hopefully I will write more about it later, but Jane is now home, and it's time to spend some time with my sweetie.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Another quick trip back home

We made a short trip to Illinois and back again this weekend. We left Saturday afternoon and made it to Buda in about 4 hours and 10 minutes. The Feipel's arrived a little before us. My sister from Minnesota was also there. We all hung out at my parents house Saturday night. Jane and I slept out at Marks house again, and everyone else stayed at my parents house.

Sunday we all headed to Astoria for my uncle Harold's visitation. Jane rode with my sister, my mom and dad drove desperately, and I drove by myself. We visited with quite a few family members from both sides of the family. Several of my mom's sisters, nieces, and her brother showed up. The funeral home was very nice, so I suppose it was about as nice a time as it could be. Unfortunately us and the Feipel's had to leave from there to return to Indiana.

We left around 4:30 central time. We took rt. 24 to 136 to I-74 to Indy and then I-69 home. It took just over 5 hours to get home. We were pretty wiped out when we got home.  I didn't even unpack as I had to leave at 6:30 the next morning for a 2-day class in Ohio - which is where I am writing this on my Kindle. More about that later. I'm tired and going to bed.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

First 5-k of the year

I ran in the Get Green 5-Kilt Run yesterday with Jane and Carrie. It was the first 5k of the year for all of us. Fortunately it didn't start until 9:30 am, because it was a tad chilly early on. It did kind of warm up a little later in the day. That didn't stop us from having a green beer at 10:15 am though. Afterward they also turn the river green - which you can see in this news video.

I think Carrie ran a 32-minute 5k, and Jane and I did it in 34-something. I was pretty happy with that considering how out of shape I am. I was also happy to be able to run the entire thing, and not have to walk. It was pretty fun. (These pics are in reverse order, and I'm too lazy at the moment to rearrange).

Saturday, March 21, 2015

40 books to change my life

I ran across this article '40 Books That Will Change Your Life' the other day and thought it interesting. I have already read several on the list, some would be totally useless for me to read, some do not look all that good, but there are a few that seem somewhat appealing. I'm not sure how "life-changing" they would be, but I figure they could at least be helpful. I think I will start with these two:

Friday, March 20, 2015

Uncle harold

My Uncle Harold passed away this past Wednesday. He was my dad's last family member still alive (other than my dad). There are a couple obituaries HERE and HERE.

I always liked Uncle Harold. He was a quiet man, but he always had a joke or story to tell. And he always took the time to talk to ME. I can still here him say, "Danny, did you ever hear about..." I liked when he talked to me. I liked how unassuming he was. I liked how quiet and thoughtful he was. I liked his sense of humor. I generally just liked being around him. I never really knew my grandpa Bernard, but Harold seemed more like him than anyone else I knew. He was a good guy.

He was a farmer, a rural mail carrier, a pilot, and he made wooden toys. I still have some around the house that he made when I was a child (pictured are the ping-pong ball gun and whatever the other thing is). I suspect he was good at everything he did. He was the type of gentle soul that I wish I were. A good guy.

Anyway, while it's always sad when someone dies, I am glad that his suffering is no more. He had been living in a nursing home these past few years, and I'm sure it was not easy for him. I have no doubt that if people really go to heaven when we die, he is there.

The words of Jesus in John 14:2-4
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Auction day

We had our first auction of the year today at work. Ugh. I hate them. They are a lot of work to get ready for, there is a certain level of stress in making sure you do everything legally correct, plus it drains me emotionally thinking about someone losing all their belongings. This is one of the least enjoyable aspects of this job. However, I understand that if you don't pay your bill, something has to be done. We go to great lengths and are willing to negotiate with people in order to keep it from happening. Sometimes it is a necessity though.

Anyway, I only had 4 units to auction. I thought they were all pretty good units, but they did not bring very much money. What I thought was the best unit only brought in $45. I was expecting $400-$500. The other 3 went for $90, $105, and $290. So we lost a lot of money. There was a good crowd - maybe 35 or so people - but no one seemed too interested.

The only good news is that my delinquencies are down to 2.0%. That means I only have 12 people out of 600 who are late in paying right now. That's the lowest it has ever been for me. I was really hoping to drop into the 1%'s though. Dang.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Dr. visit

I had a routine doctor checkup this morning. It was at 9:15 and I was actually out of there by 9:45 am. It went well.

My weight was 168 (fully clothed), so that was down 4 lbs from my last visit 3 months ago. My blood pressure was 110/80, and I was also happy about that considering the clinic visit I had several weeks ago when it was high. I've been keeping a keen eye on it since then and it's been nice to see it steadily drop since I've been exercising again. I suppose it didn't hurt that I did 2.5 miles on the treadmill before going to the doctor this morning.

The doctor asked again if I wanted a new prescription for the Zoloft - for a lower dose. I told him I would just keep this one because I've been feeling really good, and they are easy to break in half. I am currently doing 50 mg, which is what I started out on in the first place (before going to 100). I could still try to quit from this dosage, or he said to just call him if I wanted him to prescribe a lower dose. He said Z is so nice compared to the options they used to have.

I also asked about my left shoulder. He looked at it and said it's likely just some tendon or ligament issues. He suggested ibuprofen.

We talked about me getting some blood work done - since it's been awhile since I have - and he suggested I check into Focus on Health. They offer discounted services at several locations in mid-April. So I looked up the website (which still has last years info), but they do have a Facebook page. I think I will try to do that to get my glucose, liver & kidney function, cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL, LDL, psa, and maybe tsh tested.

So, I got to work around 10 am today. I guess it's good that I've had to stay late the last couple nights. And it's always good to have a good doctor checkup.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Worship music (heart language)

I've been thinking a lot about worship music lately. I realize "worship" includes more than just music; and that one can worship while listening to music; but what I'm thinking about is the gathering of people to sing together - as one does in a typical Sunday morning church service.

Personally, I like music; I like worship music; I enjoy singing; and I am inspired by times when I truly can worship God in song. I have been a little frustrated with it lately though. It's not because the musicians at our church aren't good, nor is the sound quality poor. I actually feel more frustrated with myself because our worship leaders are very good at what they do and it seems most people really get into it. However, there are a few that would really make it better for me. I doubt that I will ever bring this to their attention, so I'll just write it here.

1. I want to be able to sing from the heart. I remember Reggie McNeal saying something once about the need for people to worship in their own "heart language" (or something like that). I'm not exactly sure what he meant, but to me, sometimes I want to be able to sing with my eyes closed. I want to get lost in what I'm singing. That's hard to do when we are constantly learning new songs, when the words are consistently late or wrong on the screen, or when the worship leader decides they want to change how a song is usually done. So what would help?

  • Don't be afraid to sing some of the same songs over and over. Not everyone spends their day listening to worship music. Familiarity is not always a bad thing. Let us get to know some standard songs.
  • Make your computer person a part of the worship team. Yes, it is important. At least to some people.  Make them practice with the band so they know what to expect.
  • Remember that congregational/group singing is just that - it is for a group of people. We are not there just to watch an individual or a couple people - that's a performance; we want to PARTICIPATE.
2. I don't come to church to hear pop music. I know, I sound old now, don't I? I also understand that many people will be familiar with the pop music they hear over and over and over again on the local Christian radio station. But again, that doesn't mean everyone spends all day listening to it. There is also nothing wrong with music that is popular, or hymns that are new, but being relevant doesn't mean a song has to be popular AT THAT TIME. Don't be afraid to delve into the archives now and then (or regularly).

3. If you're going to lead, then lead. If you are leading worship, then by all means -- LEAD WORSHIP!!! Yes, I know certain songs sound cool on the radio when one person leads one verse and another leads the next (or whatever), but AGAIN, when you are leading a GROUP OF PEOPLE, they need a compass point; a leader to follow. If we don't know who that is, it causes hesitancy. No one wants to blurt out the wrong word or come in at the wrong time. Enable us to sing together.

Eh.... this isn't really how I wanted this to sound, but you probably get the idea. I am really not concerned if the music is new or old, if it's loud or soft, fast or slow... but when I gather to sing with a group - I want to be able to sing with the group! Maybe I'm asking too much. I'm starting to think I'm just too hard to please. So, here's to hoping I get over it soon.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Golf cart - first time of the year

It was a nice day today. I'd guess it finally reached into the upper 60's for the first time this year. So I got the golf cart out at work for the first time this year too. The first time I got it out last year was March 19th, so that's pretty close.

There are still a few random piles of snow, but for the most part it is gone. I hope we don't get anymore.

It was a busy, busy day. I've had a lot to do to get ready for the auction this week, plus it just seemed like there was a bunch of other stuff that needed done.